7 junio, 2024

35 Examples of Analogies in Language

there are many examples of analogies that vary depending on the type and the linguistic or philosophical environment in which we find ourselves. An analogy is a comparison in which an idea or thing is compared to something else that is different from it.

The goal is to explain that idea or thing by comparing it to something that is familiar. To make an analogy you can use metaphors and similes. Therefore, an analogy is more complex, elaborate and complex than a metaphor or simile.

An example of an analogy is: “The structure of an atom is like that of the solar system. The nucleus is the sun and the electrons are the planets revolving around their sun. As you can see, one of the functions of analogies is to better explain a concept. A concept that is already understood is used to explain another.

In literature, writers use analogies to link an unfamiliar or new idea to common, familiar objects. That way it’s easier for readers to understand a new idea.

Furthermore, by employing this literary tool, writers capture the attention of their readers. The analogies help to increase the interest of the readers, since the analogies help them to relate what they read with their life.

Almost everyone uses analogies in daily life. Some examples are:

-You are as annoying as scratching your fingernails on a blackboard.

-The University is like a marathon. The one who keeps running wins the race and the one who stops to take a breather loses.

-Just as the sword is the weapon of the warrior, a pen is the weapon of a writer.

analogies in language

In these analogies, the message has a single interpretation, but it is used in such a way that a figurative meaning is added. There are several types of analogies in language.

– Homology

The signifier remains, but the signified varies. They are different things, with different functions, but they have a similar structural part.

Examples of Homologous Verbal Analogies

Wings are to birds, like legs to humans.
Driver is to car as pilot is to plane.
Pilot is to plane as engineer is to train.
Crying is to sadness as laughter is to joy.
Green is to grass, like yellow to banana.
Driving is to a car as riding is to a horse.
A sheep is to a flock as a bee is to a hive.
Hot is to cold as light is to darkness.
Blue is to heaven as white is to snow.
Water is to thirst as food is to hunger.
Love is to pleasure as heartbreak to suffering.
Sand is to desert as snow is to tundra.
Hamlet is to Shakespeare as Don Quixote is to Cervantes.
Pizza is to Italy as sushi is to Japan.
A ship is to the sea as a plane is to the sky.

– Comparison

Through these analogies similes are produced where he compares objects with similar characteristics.

Examples of comparison analogies (simile)

This structure is hard as iron.
His mane is as big as a lion’s.
It’s so hot it looks like hell.
It is black as night.
It runs so fast that it seems like the wind.
His eyes shine like two emeralds.
The street is pitch dark.
The singer raised her voice like a siren.
They were intricate streets like a labyrinth.
You are as high as the sky.
He has so much energy that he looks like a greyhound.
My grandfather has so many wrinkles that he looks like a worm slowing down.
It is as soft as a baby.
The streets of Marrakesh are like a maze.
Eat if you were to die tomorrow.
He moves like a fish in water.
It’s as cold in this house as it is at the North Pole.
Your soul is like an iceberg.
His teeth are like ivory.
He is as slow as a sloth.

– Allegory

In this form of language, comparisons are placed throughout the narrative. The most significant examples of allegories are the stories of the Bible or fables.


The Pinocchio tale states that the boy will be punished if he does not tell the truth. If he lies, his nose will grow. In this case, it can be extrapolated that the child who does not tell the truth will receive a punishment.

– metaphor

In this type of analogy, an object is being compared, but the object we are comparing is omitted.


It’s sparking. A person cannot spark, since he does not have an electric current, in the figurative sense of this analogy, it is understood that he is a person who is angry.
I feel butterflies in my stomach. Finding love does not mean that these insects grow in your belly, but it is a way of talking about the sensations that being in love produces.
broke my soul. It refers to when something makes you very sorry, however, it is physically impossible for the soul to break. It’s just a way to give relevance to your regret.

analogy in argument

These types of analogies are used in science to go from things known to things unknown. They are a posteriori approaches that create logical-formal models.

– interpolation

We consider all the situations of a phenomenon and we interpolate it to the new situation by analogy or induction, through the variables that we can determine from the first model.


The easiest example of understanding interpolation occurs in pedagogy for learning. For example, to learn to read, you need to know the letters that can only be understood in their context, the words, which in turn are understood in their context, the sentences, and so on.

We can interpolate this learning method, for example, to learning karate, where you begin by teaching the simplest katas, to gradually increase their complexity.

– Extrapolation

Given some events repeated in time, if the variables remain constant, it is assumed that these phenomena can be repeated again, thus creating a new conclusion. Extrapolation can also mean extension of a method, assuming that similar methods can be applied.


Continuing with the previous example, in the learning method, to learn to read, knowledge of the letters is needed, then we need to associate the letters with sounds, and then with words.

If we extrapolate this method to medicine, cells and tissues are studied, which in turn form organs, with their structures, etc., and the student can learn how the human body works.

– Reductio ad absurdum

Instead of establishing relationships, as in the previous analogies, they establish contradictions to show that he has a contrary behavior.


Pedro did not steal Pablo’s briefcase, because that day Pedro was in Zaragoza. Through this analogy, it is shown that it is impossible for Pedro to have taken Pablo’s briefcase because he does not have the gift of being in two places at the same time.

analogies in philosophy

In order to demonstrate the functioning of the universe, philosophy uses two types of analogies

– Analogy of proportionality

The best example for this analogy is Plato’s allegory of the cave. In it he compares the shadows that the inhabitants see in the caves with the things that we do not know because we do not look well and carefully.

The main idea is that the soul, once freed from material things, can see the true form of ideas.

– Attribution analogy

To understand this analogy we will use the example of Aristotle. Healthy body, healthy urine, healthy food and healthy medicine. It is clear that if we have a healthy body, urine is also healthy.

Food is healthy because it helps the body to be healthy. And medicine is healthy because it also keeps the body healthy. An application reference is applicable to all other references.


ITKONEN, Esa.Analogy as structure and process: Approaches in linguistics, cognitive psychology and philosophy of science. John Benjamins Publishing, 2005.
ESPER, Erwin A.Analogy and association in linguistics and psychology. Georgia Press, 1973.
ANTILA, Raimo; BREWER, Warren A.Analogy: A basic bibliography. John Benjamins Publishing, 1977.
OPENHEIMER, Robert. Analogy in science.American Psychologist, 1956, vol. 11, no 3, p. 127.
HESSE, Mary B. Models and analogies in science.
LEATHERDALE, William Hilton. The role of analogy, model, and metaphor in science.
ECO, Umberto; PONS, Maria.The search for the perfect language. Grijalbo Mondadori, 1996.

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